As a child growing up, A.J. Abbott found himself being a fan of the Big Ten conference, but didn’t have any one particular team that he favored.
And with the 2018 recruit out of West Bloomfield high school closing in on making a decision, several Big Ten schools are in the mix for Abbott, including Michigan State, who extended an offer to the 6-foot-2 wide receiver over the weekend.
“It was crazy, I was shocked,” Abbott said of receiving his offer from the Spartans. “It was a surreal moment, it was just something that I’ve been working for for a long time, so I’m just happy I worked for it and got it.”
Abbott participated in Michigan State’s Elite Camp over the weekend and with the help of a strong performance in East Lansing, Abbott received an offer from the Spartans.
Abbott said that he received the praise of Spartans’ head coach Mark Dantonio at the Michigan State camp and noted that he even surprised him with his speed.
“Coach Dantonio, he loves my speed,” he said. “He was very impressed with my speed and my route running and catching ability – catching outside of my radius – and also just being a big bodied receiver that can go up and get the ball. So he just loves the versatility of my game and how I can beat people and beat teams down the field, so he loved that about my game, but the speed was a surprise and he didn’t think I was as fast.”
Over the course of the past few weeks, Abbott has seen his recruitment blow up as he’s landed offers from Wisconsin and Purdue, along with the Michigan State offer and also holds an offer from Iowa.
With those offers in hand, Abbott told Spartan Nation on Sunday that he is closing in on making a decision and anticipates to announce his commitment this weekend.
Abbott, who is entering his first year at West Bloomfield after playing at Northville a year ago, said that he could see himself playing in East Lansing in the future and could join former West Bloomfield star Trishton Jackson, who is expected to be a key contributor for the Spartans this fall.
“It’d be great,” he said. “He’s a really good player, he’s fast, he’s a really good route runner and I talked to him a lot at the camp when I was camping at Michigan State, so it would be very nice.”
And the 6-foot-2, 180 pound receiver isn’t the only West Bloomfield receiver who holds an offer from the Spartans as teammate Taj Mustapha also picked up an offer recently.
“It’d be fantastic, I feel like we could kill it in college together,” Abbott said of the possibility of playing at the college level with Mustapha. “We talk about it all of the time, going to college together and just tearing it up on the field. It’s something that definitely could happen, so we’ll see how it goes.”
While he has only been at West Bloomfield for a couple of months, Abbott said that he has learned a lot from head coach Ron Bellamy, who himself is a former Big Ten receiver as he played at Michigan from 1999-2002.
“He’s fantastic, I look up to him,” he said. “He’s played in college, he’s played in the NFL, so he’s a guy I look up to and he’s bettered my game. I’ve only been here at West Bloomfield for a couple of months and he’s just taken my game to another level and he’s put me in the spotlight of a whole bunch of different colleges that I’d love to go to. He means a lot to me and he’s done a lot for me already.”
While Abbott has enjoyed the recruiting process as he’s heard from several high-level Division 1 teams and holds 13 offers in total, he is ready to make his college decision before he begins his senior season at the high school level.
Abbott said that with the Michigan State offer in hand, he’s now going to take the next week or so to weigh his options and make sure he makes the best college decision for himself.
“It was very special, because we worked for it,” he said. “We work and work every day, so for it to just come, it’s just a surreal moment and I’m very happy about it. But now, you’ve just got to buckle down and get your mind right to make a decision and that’s what it comes to, you only get to pick one.”
Be sure to stay tuned to Spartan Nation for all of the latest news on Abbott and the Spartans!